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December 15, 2009

Cape Town Stadium construction complete

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The newly completed Cape Town Stadium, photo courtesy Bruce Sutherland

Only 32 months after the first sod was turned, the spectacular new Cape Town Stadium has been completed exactly on schedule.

In a special ceremony for more than 200 invited guests and media, the contractors handed “the key of the door” to Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

As the biggest project of its kind ever undertaken in Cape Town – the total cost was R4.5-billion – it is widely regarded as a triumph in both design and construction. Concept designers were GMP Architekten from Germany, while detail design was done by Louis Karol and Associates and Point Architects.

The main building contractors were Murray & Roberts and WBHO, two of South Africa’s largest construction companies. The City was assisted by a multi-disciplinary professional team who oversaw the project. 

The unique setting of the stadium guarantees its place as a world sporting and event landmark between the twin icons of Table Mountain and Robben Island.

The project got off to a late start on March 26, 2007 after a lengthy public participation process which included an environmental impact assessment, rezoning and building plan approval, feasibility studies and some legal challenges from local residents.

Those closely involved in the management of the project agree that it has been a bumpy ride at times, but both workers and management will be proud that the completion deadline of December 14, 2009 has been met despite construction spanning two wet winters.

During the construction process, some 2 500 workers have been employed and 1 200 artisans have received training from the contractors.

For the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the stadium will have 68 000 seats, but 13 000 will be removed after the event and used at other City of Cape Town facilities.

Blog Featured Image

Cape Town Stadium, photo courtesy Bruce Sutherland

After the World Cup, the stadium will be operated commercially by Stade de France, a company that runs a massive stadium of the same name in Paris, and the South African sports marketing company SAIL. The stadium can be used for rugby and soccer matches, music concerts, religious gatherings and spectaculars.

South African soccer has its roots at Green Point

Green Point is the birthplace of soccer in South Africa. The first recorded public game was staged on the common in 1862, but it differed slightly from the modern game in the sense that it was played by “Winchester Rules”, which allowed handling of the ball.

The friendly match was played between 15 army officers and the same number of civil servants and it ended in a goalless draw.

It is therefore fitting that eight World Cup matches – five first-round clashes, one in the second round, one quarter-final and one semi-final – should be played on the site where “the beautiful game” began in South Africa.

The roof and outer façade

The 37 000 m² (398 264 ft²) glass roof absorbed a high proportion of the costs and is an engineering “first” for Africa, using technology and components from Germany, France, Spain and South Africa. Weighing 3 750 tons, the roof is made up of 9 000 laminated glass panels that allow in the natural light but also contain the noise.

An outer façade made from fibreglass mesh contains the light and noise and, when lit up at night, gives the impression of a floating lantern.

New sport and recreation precinct

The stadium site occupies 18 ha (44 acres) of the 80 ha (197 acre) Green Point Common, which is being upgraded and reconfigured to meet high environmental standards and to provide extensive recreational and sporting facilities. It includes a vastly improved nine-hole golf course, sports fields and a new 12.5 ha (30 acre) urban park. Water ponds for irrigation will be fed by water from the stadium roof and from a spring in Oranjezicht, thus reducing dependence on potable water.

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